Arlo, Vietnam and Iraq
Glad you saw the movie – even if only for the song, which deserves a permanent place in everyone’s head.
Good war questions. Having come of age in the 60s, I can’t resist comparing the two wars – and I think it is very helpful to do so.
Regardless of where you would have stood politically during Vietnam, you would eventually have learned that our justification for entering the war – “unprovoked attacks” on our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin – never really happened. Pres. Johnson knowingly duped virtually the entire Senate and the American public. Yes, there was room for legitimate argument over the domino theory, the importance of resisting communism, etc., but that did not change the fact that we were lied to about why we entered the war. We (the American public) were too slow to realize how we had been manipulated into going to war, and that slowness is part of the reason that 55,000 young Americans came home in body bags.
When Bush began beating the drums for war against Iraq, it felt and smelled to me – and I suppose to many others – like the Gulf of Tonkin fraud all over again. As he falsely and shamelessly tied 9/11 to Iraq, it told us that – again – we’re going to war, but we’re not going to be told the real reason why. Many of us felt that we needed to react much faster than we had during Vietnam. So the protests.
Yes, it is true that the protests have included some people who want to re-live the 60s, some who have not thought through the issues clearly, and some who are simply along for the ride. But there never has been an effective social movement or protest that did not include such people in its midst. That may affect the flavor of the protests, but not their validity.
Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents’ worth.